Facing the Rangers turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for the Astros, as they broke a three-game losing streak to take the opener at Globe Life Park, 2-1.
Rangers starter Drew Smyly was making his first start since 2016 following two seasons of injuries, and George Springer started him off with a big “welcome back”, as he made him throw six pitches before just depositing one in the bleachers.
You might have thought that things would spiral out of control out of there, with a rusty pitcher throwing a lot of pitches giving up a leadoff home run, and with the first relief option for him being a last-minute call-up with all of six games in the majors under his belt. It just didn’t quite happen like that, though.
The Astros wound up stranding runners all over the place, for both Smyly and Adrian Sampson (who wound up throwing the final six innings), which looked like it wouldn’t be a problem until Ronald Guzmán’s home run to tie things up in the third. Thankfully, the bats reawakened for long enough to break that tie, with Carlos Correa blasting a double in the right-center gap to start things off in the sixth and Robinson Chirinos taking revenge on his previous team with a double that was more of the seeing-eye variety to bring Correa home.
Also thankfully, the pitching continued to be impressive. This time, it was Brad Peacock making his season debut, and if you were worried that last year’s sojourn to the bullpen would make him worse, it didn’t show up tonight in Arlington. Guzmán’s home run wound up being the only major blemish on the night, with the only other hit (a Rougned Odor single) being erased after a failed steal attempt. More impressively, his final line on the night included five Ks and no walks in 6.2 innings. He didn’t even reach 90 pitches! Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna took things from there without incident.
Obviously, there are still things to be concerned about, if you want to worry. The Rangers most likely won’t be good this year, Smyly isn’t exactly an ace, and this was still only a 2-1 win. But it’s still early, and there were a lot of encouraging things here, too: Correa went 3-4, Bregman’s went 1-2 (his second hit on the year) with two walks (his first and second on the year), and overall, this was the most offense the team has seen since Opening Day (against an actual Cy Young winner, at that). And most importantly, the Astros now have win number two on the year.